As Chief Party Officer of Little Miss Party, Seri Kertzner knows how to take an event - of any size - to the next level. Kertzner will be sharing her expertise live, in person, as part of Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center
's (WHBPAC) The Moment: Little Miss Party Planner
on Tuesday, June 23 at 10:30 a.m.
We recently chatted with Kertzner about The Moment: Little Miss Party Planner
, safety hosting an imitate gathering, celebrating from afar, and more.
After years in corporate at Club Monaco and J.Crew, you switched gears to party planning. That's quite a different path. What inspired the transition?
I've always been a party girl at heart, and also by trade. I would always be partying. I'm from Toronto, Canada. I moved to New York in 2001 and I happened to meet my husband a few weeks after moving here. Once we moved in together, we were living in a one-bedroom apartment. I was constantly throwing parties. He would say, "You're inviting too many people, you're doing too much - or our apartment is too small. I was like, "No, no, no, it's not. It's fine." And I always made it work. We'd have people there 'til three in the morning. I realized that I was really good at throwing these big events in small spaces. That was the initial tagline and sort of inspiration for my business. I just was always throwing these parties, helping friends with parties, and then in 2007 I got married. I loved the planning process, which I know so many people who get married hate the planning process. I thought that was unique and after having my first son in 2009, I said, I think now's the time to leave the corporate world and do my own thing. That was what led me to party planning.
What will attendees learn during The Moment: Little Miss Party Planner?
Little Miss Party offers several Party in a Box themes. (Photo: Courtesy of Little Miss Party)
This is going to be a unique discussion, obviously, given the current state. I'm going to be speaking about how to entertain and host friends while maintaining social distance. After I started the business, we had received a lot of press organically. Something that was very interesting was because we started getting all this press, people were finding us all over the country. Once it started happening, we were getting outreach from people from every state - California, Washington, Philly, all over. My business is very customized, we create, we do all the flowers, we create all the decor, we schlep all the platters. We're a true Manhattan-based and Hamptons-based business. I can't just fly to LA to do your baby shower.
After all those calls were coming through, I came up with the idea of Little Miss Party in a Box. I have a shop online where we curate party boxes, and we ship them nationwide. So if I can't be there physically, I can at least style the party for you with disposable tableware and pretty decor and all the cute items you would need that just gets shipped directly to you. That is going to be something I really speak to at The Moment
- because right now, you don't really want people licking your forks, and then you grabbing it, and putting it in the sink. If you're going to have people over and you're going to serve food, now's the time to use chic disposable tableware. That'll be one of the things I speak to, as well as just sort of how to set up outdoors and feel safe being around people right now.
Gatherings will no doubt look a little different this year. What trends/requests are popular for the season?
Well, every holiday has been a huge thing for us. Mother's Day, Father's Day, graduations, Memorial Day and now Fourth of July - pretty much every one of those boxes has sold out for us. Not that it's a new trend, any of these holidays, but partying in place is the trend we're seeing. Because of that, people are turning to us to get their hands on these boxes, whether it's for themselves or for gifts. We've noticed it's been very highly gifted. We've had aunts sending their nieces baby showers in a box because they can't be together for their baby shower or grandparents are sending their grandchildren the birthday party in a box. One of the boxes we created for summer, with all of this in mind, was our Al Fresco Party in a Box. It's really focused on entertaining outside, having your friends over, but still feeling safe while doing that.
What are some of your top tips/tricks for hosting a gathering?
A rainbow themed party. (Photo: Courtesy of Little Miss Party)
I love the idea of having picnics where you can set up in your backyard, your front yard, wherever, where you can very easily put the blanket 6 feet apart. Then you can feel safe with everyone in the area.
Outdoor Entertaining Safely Tips:
• Set your chairs six feet or more apart, you can even mark the ground with tape or chalk to ensure your guests are aware of the parameters. Ironically the gorgeous tassel garland included in our Dining Al Fresco Party in a Box is exactly six feet - perfection!
• Set out hand sanitizer where it's easily visible and accessible for you and your guests.
• Make the gathering BYOE (bring your own everything), or set out (in advance of your guests arriving) snacks and drinks that can be tossed right into the recycling bin or trash.
Kertzner with her son. (Photo: Courtesy of Little Miss Party)
• If you want to kick things up a notch, make an individual cheese board for each of your guests (or households) to snack on. Or even order delivery or curbside...right now even a fast food meal will taste like a million bucks when enjoyed with friends!
• If you're comfortable, dedicate one bathroom (sanitize it well before & after) and put out disposable hand towels or paper towels for guests.
• If you don't have access to a backyard or outdoor space, plan a picnic in the park, bonfire on the beach, or even a tailgate! All the tips above can apply to a gathering on-the-go. Set beach towels or blankets six feet apart. Create individual s'mores kits with ingredients and sticks for each guest, you can even use charcoal briquettes in a terra cotta pot if you don't have access to a fire pit.
I've personally found that just catching up with friends with a playlist in the background has been entertaining enough for me...but if you're gathering with kids I'd recommend that you have a socially-distanced game or activity or two in mind. Have your friends bring their own hula hoops for a competition, or play trivia or charades.
Our Dining Al Fresco Party in a Box also has the kiddos covered with super cute neon bug themed temporary tattoos and, my summer secret weapon....water balloons! They can be used for a traditional water balloon fight, or we love drawing with sidewalk chalk to create targets and setting up a points system for a balloon target competition.
As far as who you choose to host, I think it's important to make sure the people coming over are people that you trust and you know where they've been, you know they've been following the rules thus far. I think that also will help make people feel more comfortable getting together.
There is a suggested donation of $20. The The Moment: Little Miss Party Planner
will include courtyard seating. Attendees must bring mask and practice safe social distancing etiquette.
76 Main Street in Westhampton Beach. For more information about The Moment: Little Miss Party Planner, visit whbpac.org. For more information about Seri Kertzner and Little Miss Party, visit www.littlemisspartyplanner.com.
Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com